Rosemaling Instructions- The Art of Floral Painting
Rosemaling is a form of decorative flower painting that developed in rural areas of Norway during the late 18th century. Then as now, the hand-painted were used to embellish home furnishings and accessories. They were especially popular for wooden tables and chairs, storage trunks, ceilings, and walls.
Virtually every shade of every color was used at some time by Rosemaling artists in Norway. Grayish blues, blue-greens, dull reds, and red-oranges often covered the design backgrounds. Medium greens, reds, whites, yellows, and shades of blue formed the basic designs. Yellow ochre was (and still is) a popular color for outlining.
There are five basic brush strokes, the C and reverse C (or parentheses stroke), the S curve, the O (or circle stroke), the straight line and the dot. Practice these strokes until you can manipulate the brush skillfully. When you can, you'll be ready to begin your first Rosemaling project such as the one we will do here.
Select, then prepare your plate by filling holes, scratches, and nicks with wood filler. Sand well. Apply a coat of wood sealer and paint the plate with semigloss oil-base paint.
Sketch your Rosemaling design onto plain brown wrapping paper and tape the pattern to the plate with a piece of carbon or graphite paper beneath it. Trace the main areas of the design onto the plate (you can fill in details later using the pattern as a guide). Mix artist's oil paints on a foil-covered palette. Sketch your Rosemaling design onto plain brown wrapping paper and tape the pattern to the plate with a piece of carbon or graphite paper beneath it. Trace the main areas of the design onto the plate (you can fill in details later using the pattern as a guide).
Mix artist's oil paints on a foil-covered palette. Then add a mixture of four parts linseed oil and one part turpentine until the paint is a creamy consistency.
Use the five brush strike techniques to paint the designs. Never start in the middle of a stroke. If you must refill your brush with paint in the middle of a stroke, start again at the beginning position.
Use one brush for each paint color. If you are a novice, work with only two or three colors of paint on a single project and proceed to more colors as you gain experience. Don't expect each brush stroke to be identical. Slight variations in the hand-painted designs will add charm to the project.
As you paint, steady the plate by holding it with your free hand.
After painting the main part of your design, go back and fill in details such as dots and shadings, being careful not to let the paint dry in the brushes. (If you wish to duplicate the colors shown above, use olive green, muted red, gold, and muted white.)
After completing the design, let the paint dry thoroughly and wipe off tracing lines, smudges, and fingerprints. Apply a coat of varnish using a wide, soft-bristled brush. Apply the varnish with as few strokes as possible to get an even coat.
After the varnish is dry, rub it down with pumice and water to dull the finish, if desired.